Maternity Photography Session FAQs | San Diego Maternity Photography

I seem to get more questions regarding maternity session preparation than any other type of shoot...even more than the newborn! I've finally compiled and (hopefully) answered them for you. Please feel free to e-mail me additional questions.

Whether you are on the fence about taking belly shots, or visiting this page in preparation of your scheduled session, I hope this information is helpful.

Here is my website's maternity section for samples of my work - tons of other relevant shots are linked below alongside the topics they illustrate.

The Cliff's Notes Version:

1) Schedule session between 32-36 weeks.

2) Photos are often posted publicly unless they include nudity, or if you request for them not to be.

3) Family is encouraged to participate :)

4) Prep: Groom, h2o, S̶A̶L̶T̶, relax/recline, sleep!

5) Level of nudity is your call.

6) Final photo selections are lightly retouched, but I like to keep things natural


The full and comprehensive FAQ

1) When should I schedule my session?
Every pregnancy is different, but between 32-36 weeks is ideal. The best time to shoot is when you are nice and round, but not so late in the pregnancy that you are totally uncomfortable moving and posing. You also obviously don't want to schedule too late, in case of an an early arrival.

2) Will the photos be public on your website?
I never post any super revealing publicly on my website or blog. There is a chance that selected photos from your session will be used in my galleries or blogs, so if you do not want to be featured, please let me know. 

3) Can my partner be in the photos?
Yes, of course! Any family that you would like in the photos may join the shoot. This is a beautiful and joyous time of celebration in a family, which I love to document.

4) How do I prepare for the session?
Here are some pointers to help you feel your best when the camera is on you!

•The day of the shoot, don't wear tight clothing, bras or other constricting bands; this will avoid marks on your skin.

•Steer clear of salt the day before and day of your shoot to prevent bloating. Drink plenty of water and get a good night's rest before your shoot.

•Have nails clean, filed or manicured (hands are often the highlight of a photo)- make sure any family members who will be participating also have clean nails.

I will take care of everything else!

5) Do I have to be nude?
No, no. Not at all! You can be as clothed, or as bare as you want. I always start with clothed shots and follow the client's lead and comfort level. It is up to you how artistic you'd like to get. I have done numerous boudoir maternity shoots to celebrate the pregnant female form, and I love doing this. If you are interested in incorporating that kind of style into your session, I will send you private gallery information to see samples of past shoots.

6) But what about my stretch marks, etc!?
This is a part of pregnancy! I am a master of making you feel like a supermodel during the shoot, not to mention playing with light and angles to capture your best. That said, if you request post-shoot, Photoshop is always near. Extensive retouching is no longer my preference, but I am happy to modify anything you find distracting to help you feel the most gorgeous ever in the final versions of photos.

7) How should I do my makeup? Should I have it done professionally?
I offer full makeup services as an a la carte option (please let me know ahead of time if you'd like to add this to your shoot), though many women prefer a natural look for maternity photos. To achieve a face you are comfortable with but also translates well in photos, I recommend applying makeup as you normally would for daytime, but be sure to accentuate your cheek bones and wear plenty of mascara. 

8) What do I wear?
Besides what you may already have in mind, I can help you choose appropriate wardrobe and accessories when I arrive...but to prepare, you can lay out some of these suggested items.

•Pre-pregnancy jeans, which you can still get into without zipping OR maternity jeans that don't have the elastic in the front. The point is to frame and highlight the belly, so the snugger they are in the front, the better.
•Leggings/yoga pants. Pre-pregnancy also is ideal in this case so they sit just below your bump.
•Ribbed & bright colored tank-tops (small/short ones so your belly pops out).

•Bandeau tops/sports bras
•Oversized men's button down shirts
•Leg warmers 
•Scarves or thin tapestries (silky ones are nice for more creative shots like the one below, achieved like this)
•Maternity jeans with boots
•Tight turtleneck/cowlneck sweaters
Flowy maxi dresses (you can never go wrong with these!)
Bright colored tanks
•Jean shorts

In General:
Stripes and other solid color patterns 
•Avoid black on top

•Form fitting dresses, appropriate to the season

Have more questions? e-mail me! melrose(at)

Excerpt via Yelp:

"I had no intentions of doing maternity photos, but I liked what I saw on (Melanie's) website, and I found her pricing very reasonable, so I went for it.  I'm so glad that I did!  I think some maternity photos can be so cheesy and even creepy, and I was very nervous about how they'd turn out, but Melanie knew exactly what I meant when I expressed my concerns, and I couldn't be happier with the final product.  She did my makeup, and helped me pick clothing that would look best on my 8-mo prego body.  I felt comfortable the whole time, and the photos turned out great!" -Ashley G.